Thai-Inspired Chickpea Salad

by on April 18, 2010
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A delicious chickpea salad made with pineapple and coconut

A couple of days ago, I set up a little game.  I gave you 5 ingredients (tamarind concentrate, green onions, red bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper) and asked you to identify which one of my old recipes I was using as the basis for a new recipe.

The trick: The old recipe used only 4 of those ingredients.  The prize: A FatFree Vegan refrigerator magnet.  The results: So many of you responded correctly that I started to feel guilty about offering only 5 magnets.  So I searched around and found 3 more magnets, including the one from my own refrigerator.  (If you get one that looks a little food-splattered, you got that one!)

Miang Kum Rolls

Miang Kum Rolls

The correct answer was Miang Kum Rolls, though I realize now that Grilled Baby Eggplants with Korean Barbecue Sauce and Bean Sprouts and Broccoli Slaw Salad both fit the criteria.  (In fact, that bean sprout salad actually uses the Miang Kum Rolls as its inspiration, which tells me I’m starting to repeat myself a little too much.)  Congratulations to those of you who got the right answer.  Jenna, Rachael, Angela, Christiane, and Maggie were the first 5, so you get a magnet.  And I put the remaining 15 correct guessers into a hat and picked these additional 3: Colleen, Beverly, and Gloria.  Email me (ffvkitchen AT gmail DOT com) your mailing addresses so I can get those magnets to you.  Thanks to everyone who played!

So, about the recipe.  I’d been thinking for a while about using a variation on the coco-nutty, gingery sauce from the Miang Kum recipe as a dressing for chickpeas, but it was just a last-minute whim (or attack of insanity) to dice up some fresh pineapple and add it to the chickpeas and vegetables.  And, as it turns out, the pineapple is probably what I like most about the salad.  I cut way down on the sugar of the original recipe, so the pineapple adds some sweetness and balances out the tartness of the lime.  I won’t lie to you, though; this is not the most kid-friendly dish.  E took just a few bites and declared that she didn’t like fruit with chickpeas, but D swooped right in and ate E’s share, so at least it’s adult-friendly…to certain adults who don’t mind unusual flavor combinations.

Thai-Inspired Chickpea Salad

Thai-Inspired Chickpea Salad

(printer-friendly version)


  • 1/2 ounce dried, unsweetened coconut (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and coarsely chopped ginger
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 teaspoon mellow white miso
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sugar or agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate (or omit and add extra lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or canned, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
  • salt to taste
  • toasted cashews (optional)


  1. In a dry skillet, toast the coconut just until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn off-white. Stir constantly and be careful not to burn. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the coconut is cool, put it into the blender along with the ginger, the white parts of the green onions (roots removed!), miso, vegetable broth, sugar, tamarind concentrate, and soy sauce. Blend until well-combined. Pour into a saucepan and add the drained chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the lime juice, and refrigerate to cool completely.
  3. Thinly slice the green onion tops and add them, the other vegetables, and the pineapple to the chickpeas and toss well to combine. Add salt and additional lime juice to taste. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly (tastes best if allowed to chill for at least 4 hours). Serve atop greens garnished with toasted cashews.

Cooking time (duration): 20 minutes (plus refrigeration time)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 178 calories, 32 calories from fat, 3.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 116.6mg sodium, 350.1mg potassium, 29.3g carbohydrates, 7.5g fiber, 8.5g sugar, 8.1g protein, 3.1 points.

(Though MyPoints are calculated using a formula similar to Weight Watchers Points TM, this site has no affiliation with Weight Watchers and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.)

Copyright © Susan Voisin 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not repost recipes or photos to other websites.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim April 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Hello Susan, I love most of your recipes but am concerned about you still using agarve as a sweetener. Here in Australia there has been a lot of articles (mostly originating from the US) about the dangers of it. Dr Mercola says it’s worse than corn syrup?

Also there is some divison regarding eating too much Tofu, my friend who has secondry breast cancer has been told to steer clear of ALL soy products. Is there any thing out there that we can use as a substitute for soy? Unfortunately some of the ingrediants you mention aren’t even available here. Do you think that you could have a list of “what is this” and any available substitues. I know you don’t have enough to do already!!
You do a fantastic job in spreading the V word and I take my hat off to you. Keep up the great work.
Kind regards


2 SusanV April 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Thanks for your kind words, Kim. Frankly, I regard as suspect anything Dr. Mercola says because of his anti-vegetarian agenda. I’ve seen the anti-agave articles, and I’ve seen other articles debunking them. I can’t see how a tablespoon of agave in a recipe serving 6 could ever be considered more harmful than sugar.

About soy, I would have to look at an individual recipe before offering substitutes. Instead of soy milk, almond or rice milk can almost always be used. If a recipe consists mainly of soy, such as tofu quiche or omelettes, often it’s better just to look for another recipe than to substitute. In this recipe, I would just replace the soy sauce and miso with a little salt and, maybe, nutritional yeast.

I don’t generally enter into nutrition debates, but my feeling is that most of these scare stories are just that–inflammatory rhetoric usually from biased sources. I take them all with a grain of (sea) salt.


3 Raheem May 31, 2010 at 5:10 am

I am from Australia.. and you can find all those ingredients here.. and more very easily. We have many Asian supermarkets so take your pick and have a look around. Also whoolies and coles have asian sections where u can find tamarind concentrate etc. As with Agave all my vegan friends use it and i agree with SusanV all the way! 🙂 Love your blog!!!


4 Stephanie April 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I’m not normally one for getting into nutritional debates like these either, but I have read some similar information regarding agave nectar from Jeff Novick, Dr. McDougall’s resident nutritionist on the Dr. McDougall discussion board. If you were to search his forum, I’m sure you could find it. I just thought I’d mention it, since Jeff’s is a more reasonable voice, at least in my mind, than Dr. Mercola’s.


5 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 7:24 am

Thanks, Stephanie. I’ll have to do a search of the McDougall site to see what he thinks. One thing I want to point out is that when I use agave nectar, I almost always offer other alternatives. In this recipe, I used sugar and offered agave as an alternative, but you could easily use rice syrup or maple syrup instead, though the taste will be different.


6 Sophia April 19, 2010 at 12:07 am

Hi Susan! This recipe & its photo look delicious- like all the rest. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is one of my FAVORITE recipe resources ever! Once a week I go through the local market sales flyers & write down which produce is on sale- then I usually go through your recipe database to find a dish I can make from that.. It really helps as a broke college student and your recipes are so varied that I always end up finding a good recipe with varied ingredients.
Everything I’ve made from this blog has been delicious, and I love that I don’t have to tailor the recipes to make them healthy…I figured I’d just let you know that all your work on this is so wonderful and very appreciated.
Thanks- Sophia 🙂


7 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 7:27 am

Sophia, I really appreciate your feedback. And you know what–I do exactly the same thing, buy the produce that is on sale and then tailor my meals to that. It keeps things both affordable and seasonal.


8 Erik Marcus April 19, 2010 at 3:34 am

I don’t have a background in nutrition, but as with most things this is likely a question of quantity. I don’t think anyone credible is saying that a tablespoon or two of agave each week is going to do you harm.


9 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 7:28 am

Thanks, Erik. You said what I was trying to say, but so much more succinctly!


10 Ellen Allard April 19, 2010 at 7:43 am

This looks absolutely delicious. Just by reading your description, I can taste it. The fact that it offers gluten free possibilities (checking labels is vital, subbing wheat-free tamari as well) is a real plus in my book. This is a must try!



11 sylvia April 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

This recipe looks fantastic. I have most of the ingredients, so maybe I’ll make it tonight for tomorrow’s lunch. Do you think it would work served over some brown rice?


12 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

sylvia, brown rice wouldn’t be my first choice because it’s usually served hot while the salad should be cold. But if it sounds good to you, go for it!

I think it would be really good over quinoa or couscous or in a wrap or pita.


13 sylvia April 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

Try a cold brown rice salad! I usually use short grain brown rice, and toss with dressing and other ingredients while the rice is warm. It’s a great make ahead lunch for work.


14 LindsayH April 27, 2010 at 2:05 am

I agree, Sylvia. Brown rice is fantastic cold. You just have to be really careful how you let it cool so that it doesn’t either dry out or get mushy. The tiniest bit of oil helps here. Maybe even oil spray would work. I know, oils are forbidden but sometimes you need just a little bit.


15 Amber Shea @Almost Vegan April 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Agave debate aside, this looks so tasty and creative. I love the toasted coconut going into the puréed sauce. I wonder if, to appease those wary of agave, you could replace the 1 Tbsp of agave/sugar with a Tbsp of pineapple juice, plus perhaps a dash of cornstarch or arrowroot powder?


16 Dianne April 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

This looks perfect for an easy, packable lunch. I like the new layout, too!


17 Jess April 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

This looks amazing! I just bought a bunch of dried chickpeas, and was thinking about what recipes to make with them. One question: I accidentally bought a bag of SWEETENED coconut a while back, when I meant to grab the unsweetened. Now I have a big ‘ole bag of it, and was wondering if I could use the sweetened coconut, and maybe just eliminate the sugar? Or does unsweetened coconut have a significantly different flavor (besides just being less sweet)?


18 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I really wouldn’t recommend using sweetened because it is SO sweet. In fact, I had to put off making this recipe because the only coconut I had onhand was sweetened, and I had to go to two stores to find unsweetened. That’s how much I would not recommend using sweetened coconut!

Maybe you could wash the sugar off…? 🙂


19 Cara April 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I love the mix of ingredients, especially the coconut. What a colorful and refreshing salad!


20 Laina April 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Congrats to those who guessed the correct recipe and won the magnet. Yay, how fun! 🙂

This recipe looks delicious, Susan. I’m not sure I can get tamarind here so thanks for the suggestion of using extra lime juice.

How much is a serving? About 3/4 – 1 cup maybe?


21 SusanV April 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Yes, I’d say about 3/4 of a cup.


22 Liam April 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Mmm, looks like something that will suit the recent uncharacteristically warm weather in Edmonton. I recently discovered that black beans, mango and red pepper go together surprisingly well in a salad, so I’d imagine this is pretty good too!

For those people curious about soy, there’s a lot of information here:
I believe the author is anti-veg*n, but the majority of the information in there is pretty widely agreed upon, and vegetarianism doesn’t even come up in the article.

I think it all comes down to: No, you probably shouldn’t be eating soy products as a replacement for any and all whole-foods. But if you have a healthy diet, moderate amounts of soy aren’t going to kill you. If you’re worried just stick to lentils/pulses/beans other than soy, most of which have been consumed for thousands of years in some of the healthiest diets in the world.


23 In PA April 20, 2010 at 7:39 am

About soy, I did read that the highest food allergy was to “soy.” With all the craze about soy I think people have gone a little overboard with soy which is never a good thing with any item. I usually make up my own substitutes and don’t use much soy. I do love your recipes.


24 Angie April 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Hmm, I have read in many many texts that the most common food allergen is lactose. Gluten, peanuts, eggs, soy, corn are definitely up there. Also, smart of you to moderate your soy consumption, despite the hype.


25 Joanne April 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

The cashews are the ultimate topping on that salad. I bet the texture and flavors make for a dish that we would make over and over again. Great recipe.


26 Becca April 20, 2010 at 9:05 am

Hi Susan,
I’ve been meaning to write about an issue with the new blog. No matter which post I’m on, the “What’s for Dinner?” box on the left is overlapping the text. Friday it was covering the ingredients list on a post I was using and it’s covering part of the nutrition facts on this post. I’d never seen this until the switch.
I’m using Firefox on a mac, if that makes a difference.
I love your recipes and want to see them in them in their entirety! 🙂


27 SusanV April 20, 2010 at 9:13 am

Becca–Thanks for letting me know! That box has been a pain in several ways, but that’s the first I’ve heard of this issue. I’m sorry if it’s covering part of the text. I may just have to remove it and explore other options.


28 Ciel April 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I have tamarind pods. Do you have an idea how to use? I was going to look it up but thought you might have a response. I just found your site and am thrilled. Thanks.


29 Lex April 21, 2010 at 1:23 am

Looks outstanding! I can’t be trusted with cashews, though. I’d have to figure out how to buy like 3 of them or I’d eat the whole bag on the way home from the grocery store!


30 simauma April 21, 2010 at 5:30 am

Hello!! My name is SIMAUMA. I look very delicious!I write blog about the food.Please look.And I am glad if I link to your blog. (URL)


31 bigjobsboard April 21, 2010 at 5:43 am

Wow. Nice dish! Thanks for sharing this recipe! The dish looks so refreshing. Thanks.


32 Mary April 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

This sounds so delicious and so easy! I love sweet and sour Thai flavors. The site makeover looks great!


33 Stacey@ April 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Beautiful salad, looks delicious. I love all the colors and nutrients.


34 Lin April 22, 2010 at 2:48 am

Oh my gosh, first of all I just discovered your blog (found it while searching for vegan greek yogurt) and I feel like I just found a gold mine of vegan information!!!

I’ve only been vegan for a little over 2 months and am still figuring out how to cook certain foods. I feel like I overly rely on oils esp Smart Balance and I am so glad that your recipes try to reduce that. Anyways I can’t wait to try this salad!!!


35 Kip April 23, 2010 at 3:14 am

This would make a fabulous picnic dish!


36 Debbie April 24, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I do not know about all the debate but your food looks good. I have a hard time finding new recipes for my vegan family members. Thank you for the site.


37 Richard Draving April 25, 2010 at 2:50 am

hi – love your blog! I’m a vegan in Philadelphia, and I run I’m planning to feature your blog on a browser bar built specifically for Boston vegans and vegetarians. When did you start blogging? VegVine was started in 2005 in order to help people discover and love a vegan diet. We are all volunteers at the moment. We are building resources to help people go veg and reduce animal use. I think there might be some cool ways we could partner up with you. if you can squeeze it into your schedule I’d like to chat together about how we can make a bigger impact. Ryan / / 215-589-2437


38 moonwatcher April 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Hi Susan,

This recipe looks delicious and the changes look great, too!




39 Rossana April 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

Just discovered your fabulous site ! I shall be adding it to my favourites 🙂


40 EJ Walkinshaw April 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

So glad I found this website. I am enjoying the recipes, thanks.

I am also smiling with pride because you are from Jackson, MS. I am from here, too. A native. I joined the vegan way this year and will never go back.

Madison, MS


41 Heather Loves Healthy Vegan Recipes April 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

mmm…. I’m in love with pineapple. I wish I lived in a tropical country so I didn’t have to stop myself from buying it more often!! Excellent use of it with the chickpeas – although kids might not like it, the bromelain helps in the digestion of protein. That’s my excuse for putting pineapple in dinner anyway… Great recipe, I think I’ll have to try it since I have some tamarind and coconut in the cupboard, and some pineapple in the fridge…


42 Alexandra April 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

Great recipe.


43 LindsayH April 27, 2010 at 2:03 am

I may try this, sounds like the type of food I love. Chickpeas….and coconut. Yum. And I really love lettuce wraps.

Just FYI but you referred to your husband as “her.” I hate it when I make mistakes like that so I thought I would let you know.


44 SusanV April 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

Thanks, Lindsay! Actually, by “her” I meant that D. ate E’s share of the salad, and I didn’t realize it could be misread until you pointed it out. I’ve made the change. I’m with you on wanting to know about mistakes so I can correct them. I hate looking back at something I wrote ages ago and seeing an error and wondering how many people noticed it before I did.


45 Sian April 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I made this today for lunch and loved it! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of taking the same old things into work every day – your site is a great inspiration. Thanks!


46 vegan4life May 25, 2010 at 6:05 am

Hi Susan and all,

A beautiful site! very inspiring work Susan, and your photos on this page are so outstanding they are compelling me to go and make this salad with its interesting Thai flavour notes.

I pop in intermittently but this time I feel the urge to say something about the soy issue which is very close to my heart.

As a committed vegan of many years I continue to study the nutrition/health aspects. I have investigated soy in some depth exploring the scientific research and literature. My final conclusion was that soy is indeed a damaging food if consumed in excess, which sadly very many new vegans are doing. I’m left with real concern about the cumulative effects that this excessive soy consumption may/will have on the health of these newer vegans in years to come. Unfermented soy products (eg. tofu and soymilk) are rich in damaging anti-nutrients and this fact has been well hidden from us by the huge and very persuasive soy industry.

I want to see people adopting veganism as a diet and an ethical lifestyle and I want to see them have long and healthy lives. I’m encouraging people to switch some of their soy consumption from tofu to tempeh which has a much higher protein content and is much less damaging to the health. I believe that people should aim to reduce their tofu/soymilk consumption to once a fortnight at most; to replace tofu with tempeh and sub soymilk for other plant-based fortified milks; and to focus on other beans and seeds (including high protein hemp) all of which should be pre-soaked – particularly important when feeding our vegan children.

Our global vegan community is vibrant and strong and daily growing. While we delight in sharing and testing recipes which flow from the generous and creative work of people like you Susan, I feel we also need to support each other fully in understanding the vitally important nutritional side of veganism, and share this knowledge openly so that we can all learn and grow and stay optimally healthy throughout out lives.

We have something very precious here, and are priveleged to have found this compassionate lifestyle and to have the joy of sharing it with others. All thanks to the growth of the world wide web and the awesome work and dedication of yourself Susan, and others like you.


47 michele July 13, 2010 at 1:50 am

Please don’t run from soy as a food unless you have a specific medical issue or allergy! If you take a closer look at the soy debate, you will find that the real concern lies not in the occasional consumption of soy as a protein source or an ingredient in home cooking. The problem is all the hidden soy that riddles almost every processed food sold in the U.S. No, that is not hyperbole — soy is used as a filler, extender, emulsifier, coating and, of course, animal feed, because it is cheap and subsidized. Some researchers link the timing of the injection of soy into the food stream with the timing of the rise in childhood obesity, diabetes, early sexual maturity, i.e., the ills of the modern developed world. These theorists are careful to note that these same diseases are not prevalent in countries that treat soy as a food itself — think Asia — rather than an industrial filler. Ironically, all those who deride vegetarians as “tofu-eaters” probably injest much more soy in their processed food-centered diets…! And, of course, the second concern with soy is the unnoted use of GMO soy in all those processed foods in the U.S. — I believe the U.S. is still the only developed country that requires no notification of GMO, meaning U.S. sellers will only tell us when a product is “GMO-free” vs. the rest of the developed nations that either outlaw GMO products or require a warning.


48 rachel May 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm

we loved this one, too! thanks!!!


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